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Shaggy the Atarian

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Everything posted by Shaggy the Atarian

  1. Lol, why do I even bother? You clearly have no idea what you're talking about, something that goes on an awful lot in the VCS threads.
  2. You can't mention that without some visuals
  3. You said: "they are doing well in the clothing industry," so you brought up a huge $1.5 trillion industry. Making a few million dollars in a market this massive is not "doing well" and you can't act like it's only fair to compare them to nothing. Are they making a profit for themselves, yes. But so are a lot of companies that have little to no brand value. It also doesn't equate to being a brand with the strength of mythical proportions. Instead of using anecdotes, assumptions and shirts, let's look at what the experts say: Forbes: Nintendo is the 87th most valuable brand on the planet Atari: Doesn't even show up on their 2020 Most Valuable Brands list - I also tried to find a business profile to Atari on Forbe's site like they have for Nintendo above, and cannot find one. Probably because they would be embarrassed to give a nice profile to a has-been company that has been nothing more than a penny stock until recently. I also read their methodology for determining a strong/valuable brand over twice and couldn't find any mention of T-Shirts/clothing sales in there. Odd. Every faithful person around here gets really upset when I point this out, but you must not have ever heard of the Ouya, a no-name newcomer that raised over $8 million on their promise of a cheap game console, they had over 55,000 backers from that alone. No brand, no name, yet they managed to rake in multiple times more interest and money than Atari did with the VCS. You've undermined your own argument about how strong the Atari brand is here - it's worth about $3 million, so about $1m more than what Atari was asking for back in 2012. Like I said previously, it's enough to open a single Chuck E. Cheeses location - it's not even close to enough to open a single Dave & Busters (which cost about $10-15m to open, per site, where they have around 130 locations at present). In the world of business and markets, this is nothing. Doesn't matter how many kids you see wandering around with Atari T-Shirts - it's just like racerx said, it's niche. Or rather... Selling "tens of thousands" of hardware products is something that console makers can do every month. The VCS will be lucky to even match the Jaguar's lifetime sales when all is said and done. As I've said before, all indications are that it will be the worst selling Atari console released to date. No one is going to jump from buying a $20 shirt to a $300+ console that has nothing special about it and weak game library with few exclusives because of that logo. Meanwhile, Nintendo can slap their name on any hardware product it instantly sells hundreds of thousands - even flops like the WiiU sold hundreds of thousands of units in the first months. Nintendo's stock issues have become the stuff of legends, while a pile of the Flashback 7s/8s/9s/Whatever will sit around until the store shoves them out on clearance sales. And this is all why we pointed out long ago that Tacos are more valuable than Atari is...
  4. It is fair because Atari doesn't exist in a vacuum. In both video games and clothing, they're literally a drop in the ocean, where they're lucky to still be remembered by old fogies like us. If they are what you consider to be a "strong" brand, then what on earth does that make multi-billion dollar brands Apple, Sony, Supreme, Nike, etc., etc.? Every other major video game company that licenses out their stuff for clothing does better than Atari does. Is it a dead brand? No. Is it strong though? Nope. I've never heard anyone call a company a strong brand when their stock price sits well below a $1 for several years. When Atari put themselves up for bankruptcy in 2012 and were selling off the logo and most of the 70s IP as a bundle, they were only asking for $2 million. That's about how much it takes to open a single Chuck E. Cheeses building. Later on, it was reported that Fred was trying to inflate the value of the company and was asking $200 million for it. Quite a difference, but the potential buyer balked, because they saw that when Infogrames had purchased it, as well as Hasbro, everything was purchased for somewhere between $5-10m. In the business world, this is all peanuts. A truly strong brand would be worth billions. Also if it were a strong brand, then that logo, which is really the only thing unique that the VCS has going for it, would've moved a heck of a lot more than 10k~ units. Moving T-Shirts and game consoles are two very different things, but again, your brand only takes you so far. Sorry, but this makes me laugh every time I see it. They are not even in the same galaxy as Apple, which generates enough money to start being considered a trillion dollar company at this point. Odd that Atari has gone through owner after owner, and gone through CEOs like frat house goes through kegs, and yet that wild new success still seems to elude them. As has been argued on these forums for a few years now, the VCS was supposed to be the Next Big Thing, and some faithful even claimed it would be a PS5 killer. Fred thought the answer was mobile gaming, then crowdfunding, then cryptocurrency and now it's NFTs. The common thread there is that Atari isn't leading, they're just following the crowd. Does the company need a strong creative vision, sure, but Nolan Bushnell or Al Alcorn or this new CEO isn't going to swoop in with some grand new vision of making the company relevant again. They'd need to come up with a whole slew of new and innovative games and tech to do that, which is easy to say, near impossible to do unless you've somehow managed to hire a bunch of geniuses that will turn it into the New Giant of Gaming & Tech. Those geniuses don't want to be part of a has-been brand that has been poorly run and just relies on 3rd parties to develop everything for them...they make their own start-ups and become billionaires in the process.
  5. In terms of which themed rooms a hotel chain could design & rent out, you know that anything recent from a major franchise - Minecraft, Super Mario, Sonic, Call of Duty, The Last of Us, Overwatch, Fortnite, etc. - would be far more valuable to offer than anything Atari has. Those franchises are relevant to people of all ages right now as opposed to decades ago. Sure, you could more easily afford to do a Yars Revenge themed room over a Fortnite themed one, but that said, the investment in the Fortnite one would pay itself off a lot faster and thus be worth the extra cost. Of course if Atari had anyone on board over the past 10 years with a strong creative vision to make their classics relevant again, then it'd be a different story, but nostalgia only takes you so far. Some of these metrics are deceiving, particularly the last two. It plays well to investors who don't bother to research, but dig into that and you'd find that they had to use data from the 1980s to come up with those numbers/claims. I also wouldn't be surprised if they got it wrong - several times over the years, including recently, they've claimed on their social media that games like Joust or River Raid are Atari games. Someone over there seems to think that no one except Atari existed until Nintendo came along. I haven't seen the latest numbers on how much they're raking in on clothing sales, but last I checked a few years ago, I recall that it was only a million or two (I could be mis-remembering, but still it wasn't that great. Compare them to the sales of any real clothing brand and they become a joke). As for website visits, Nintendo probably gets that alone on a single product page in a month...website visits also don't translate directly into product sales (otherwise all the mobile games they've been churning out would be performing better). They probably didn't mention this on the presentation, but their official YouTube channel only has a paltry 6.3k subscribers. I'm a nobody that talks about arcades and I have almost 3,000 more subs than that The Atari VCS channel fares better at 13.2k, but that's still nothing in terms of interest reach when you look at other companies. Granted, they do fare much better on other social media platforms like Facebook (269k) and Twitter (82.3k)...but it doesn't help the brand when the people running their messaging on those platforms are constantly putting out bad or embarrassing information and not correcting it. Overall, they're decent thanks to nostalgia, but I wouldn't use the word "strong"...particularly for a company that used to be the 800lb. gorilla of the game industry.
  6. If the metric of "strong brand" is that it shows up on a lot of T-shirts, then Nintendo/Sega/Sony/Microsoft still blow Atari out of the water. I'm wearing a Nintendo-themed shirt as I write this (Legend of Zelda). This is just as anecdotal, but in working at a mall arcade all day, I don't see many people with Atari shirts these days. Once in a while, but not as much as other gaming properties. I also rarely hear people ask for Atari-made games anymore...I used to, but even then most requests were for Atari Games stuff like Area 51 (at one point I had as many as 8 Atari arcade classics from the 80s & 90s, but they all performed pretty poorly in today's environment, so I've slowly been selling them off 😕 ) There was a time when people saying "I'm playing Atari" meant they could be playing any video game, but the last time that was relevant was 1984. As Matt B said, Atari has done nothing recent that influenced gaming in any way, shape or form. The company that used to be pioneers are now just a small conglomerate of licensing and patent trolls that see what others are doing and tries to figure out how they can milk that from the licenses they have left. They're riding the coat tails of what smarter, vastly more creative people did 40 years ago. This is why they can't reinvigorate any of the old licenses like Nintendo or even Sega can (most of the classic IP remakes have been total flops, such as the three recent Haunted House's, Night Driver, Ninja Golf...they couldn't even get an Asteroids remake off the ground). On the flipside, companies like Nintendo and Sega still have some of their strongest creative game designers still working for them and still finding ways to refresh old IP. Definition of a brand: "A brand is an identifying symbol, mark, logo, name, word, and/or sentence that companies use to distinguish their product from others. " Given how you just used the words, they're brands Sony and Microsoft also consider them as such, which is why they aren't creative in the naming of new editions and always make sure to keep the word "PlayStation" or "Xbox" in the naming convention (I wholly agree that how MS names their consoles has to be the dumbest & most confusing way you could go about it). Also from that article: " In fact, the company is often referred to by its brand, and they become one and the same." Notice that almost no one talks about Sony - they say PlayStation. The PS brand is literally one of the few things keeping that company afloat, since they've had multiple products (phones, computers, movies, even TVs, etc.) bomb hard enough that it drained the company of that sweet cash money. If Sony did ever become desperate enough to milk their brand by using a hotel like Atari is, they'd make it look like a giant PS logo, guaranteed. Maybe not an entire hotel, but there are many rooms/suites out there which are themed after products - cartoon characters (which are really products that eventually evolved into brands) are the most common, but there are even Ramen-themed rooms out there. Given that some hotels are mini-theme parks, it can work if you have strong enough themes/IP to work with. If someone built a Super Mario hotel or a Sonic The Hedgehog hotel, that'd make some buzz. Asteroids...not so much. In regards to Nintendo, just look at the international reaction of people in regards to Super Nintendo World - it's enough that Universal is working with Nintendo to bring the concept to the States, which will likely include themed hotels nearby. Atari could do some cool themed rooms based on various games, at least. If you had a competent writer & screenwriter tackle it, then maybe it could work. Video game movies need strong, recognizable characters to draw audiences in, or if they lack that naturally (like Asteroids does), then you need at least one really big name actor who is in need of a vanity project (like the Rampage movie). But given how much schlock that Hollywood churns out these days, I wouldn't count on it. That said, I'm surprised that Fred didn't license Asteroids out for a Sharknado Vs. Asteroids movie
  7. By my understanding, NFTs are only hot right now because of some recent NFT sale for millions of dollars (I won't pretend to understand what NFTs are all about, haven't read up on it). Seems a lot like a bubble, but I guess we'll see. The change in leadership is also certainly at play here, since that tends to bring positive news to a company if the previous CEO wasn't very good, but how long it lasts depends on what the new guy does.
  8. ☝️ Yes, this. I recall sitting in English class in High School in either '99 or '00, and for some reason the PS2 vs. the DC came up. The PS2 hadn't been released yet, but there was a guy making the argument that the PS2 was far superior because he regurgitated the spin that "individual blades of grass will move in the wind thanks to the Emotion Engine." Not that such a thing makes games more fun or anything. He also threw in that the PS2 was "definitely" getting FF7, which has long been an annoying thing that PS fanboys invented out of their dreams for every Sony system, even though nothing was announced on a remake until the PS4. I can also remember visiting a local game store around the time that the DC came out, and the sales guy behind the counter was pulling out all the stops to convince a customer that they should jump on the DC instead of waiting for the PS2 to come along. While I can't remember all the specifics of the argument, I do remember him saying "the Dreamcast is worth every penny!" The Anti-DC hype train got so bad at one point that I even remember people saying that Bleemcast was going to save the DC since that played PS1 games better than the PS2 did, or something along those lines. At least in my area, most people on the fence about it did prefer to wait for the PS2 since they figured it would live up to all of the hype, ridiculous or not.
  9. I did some research on the Codebreaker show and put it in the taco thread ages ago, but yeah, it wasn't that surprising that they found ways to screw people. That was Fred's MO. There's a lot more bad things to be said about Atari that aren't made public, primarily from the game development community of partners that were regularly screwed out of money owed to them per contracts. I personally know one person who worked for Human Head Studios that detailed a lot of the crap they pulled, which pretty much ended up bankrupting HHS; You can also be sure that those "behind-the-scenes" factors that people can't talk about due to NDAs are also reasons for why a number of announced games never came to fruition, like Asteroids Outpost, or the first iteration of the VCS. Fred may have led the company to solvency for the moment, but the road he took to get there burned a lot of bridges in the process. That's where I don't envy Mr. Wade in trying to repair that damage, but that's the job that he wanted so we'll see. That likely depends on the contract, so it could be timed or indefinite, depending on what they hammered out. Timed royalties are much more common though (usually they are paid until a certain metric is reached, like the licensee only pays royalties to the licensor until their initially agreed upon investment is paid back in full. This may take a few years, depending on how successful the initial product was, and failure could also lead to other issues).
  10. Yeah, when the bar is already low to begin with, it's not terribly impressive when the "throw everything at the wall and see what sticks" strategy does get a bump from a couple of things doing the sticking. Still, good for them. I wouldn't mind being a few million dollars richer either, from the low bar I'm at right now. Hardware & clothes yes, but I've not seen any evidence that they have even managed to produce any kind of income generating film or TV show. They've got some licensing to throw stuff like Centipede into Pixels some years ago, but the game show they did was barely shown in Europe (and they were sued by contestants who never received the cash they won). The Nolan Bushnell movie, as well as the Asteroids and Missile Command movies never happened. Even if an old Atari game was turned into a big Hollywood film, expecting any Atari IP to have the same success as Sonic The Hedgehog or Mortal Kombat though would be prime Rose-Colored Glasses. That's likely why they didn't happen - who wants to take the multi-million dollar risk on turning a game that only old dudes like us remember, into a big movie? A few people around here might go and see a movie about the Atari logo, but that would probably make as much as any recent Shia LaBeouf film. On hardware though, manufacturing & supporting hardware is a very expensive endeavor and it can easily bankrupt the company depending on how it's handled. They've already burned through their IGG beggar's potdonations, so they'll need sales to keep the VCS - and the company - going. Yes, Atari has momentary advantages in the licensing stuff, but without anything truly successful in raising or reinvigorating the brand, that stuff will eventually peter out while mediocre hardware endeavors that the general public doesn't care about will drag things down further. It also doesn't help that this current bunch has done plenty to ruin their brand among many of us that should be their strongest supporters too. Could the new guy figure things out and keep the expansion going? Sure. He has his work cut out for him though.
  11. Ha, I guess they didn't want (or couldn't afford) to get a Midway Laguna Racer or a Sega Turbo On a similar note, I've often wondered why River Raid-style play wasn't really copied by other shoot 'em ups, either in arcades or on consoles. Not that stuff like 1942, Gradius or Darius was bad or boring, but RR's style of play is just so fun that you'd think there would have been more games almost exactly like it.
  12. I came across this game only once, at some arcade cabinets in the middle of a mall in Brazil. I wasn't expecting much, so was definitely surprised...but too bad it's hard to find.
  13. It is a great game, but it's also not been owned by Atari coming up on 10 years now. They sold it off to Rebellion back when they declared bankruptcy circa 2012. As for who the Atari mascot is, I'm surprised how often Atarians overlook what Atari came up with over the years. The only reason none are "iconic" is because after Warner, the company did little to nothing to turn them into a franchise, like Nintendo or Sega did with theirs. The only one who came close was Commander Champion, who did appear in a number of games and the comic books during the Warner era. When you look at his "resume," seems to me that he was the de facto company mascot, at least up to 1982-83. Main problem was that apart from the comics/pinball and the super rare Liberator arcade game, you don't see his face, while in Mario & Sonic, you know you are controlling said mascot, and their faces have been plastered on everything. Atari characters - mascot potential all depends on that creative vision to do something with them beyond their original games, or reinventing those classics in a fun way: -Commander Champion + The Atari Force (Space Riders & Middle Earth pinball, Liberator, Star Raiders, comic books; You could also probably tie him in with Asteroids & Gravitar) -Oliver (Centipede) -Archer (Millipede) -Yar -The Claw (Tempest, not from the movie Liar, Liar ) -The Square Knight/Mage/Gnome from Adventure -Major Havoc -The eyes from Haunted House (joking aside ) -Bentley Bear -Charley Chuck (Food Fight) -Tarra & Torr (SwordQuest) -Robot 1984 (I, Robot) -The Time Fairy/Angel (Time 2000 pinball) -The Ninja (Ninja Golf) -Kung Fu Lu (Off the Wall) -The adventurers from Dark Chambers -Desert Falcon -Black Widow (from the arcade game, but no one likes spiders...) I might be missing one or two, but seems to me that Atari has a lot to choose from, despite no one at Atari ever figuring out what to do with them. As for a logo or the Pong paddles being a "mascot" - meh, that's pretty forgettable instead of relatable. Usually when a company tries to turn their logo into a mascot, it doesn't last for long, like 7up's Spot or Dominos Pizza's Donny The Domino.
  14. I'm not talking from a "how could it have competed against other arcade boards" angle, I'm simply saying I've wondered what kind of performance jumps you would get if you took something like Tempest 2000 or BattleMorph or Iron Soldier and ported it to the CoJag hardware. While I don't know much about coding, I have read plenty of discussion that the 68k was one bottleneck in the Jag's design that hinders bus performance (in part due to the 16-bit bus access) - that and both the 68020 and the R3000 are more powerful chips and had 32-bit bus access, so any code ported over there would be able to benefit from that, would it not? (That and I've always thought it would be cool to convert a Tempest arcade cabinet over to Tempest 2000, but do so with a proper arcade board)
  15. It also helps when the corporation backing the PSX had billions of dollars to play with, while Atari had some millions. Like was also said, the Jaguar was made to be a 2D powerhouse (by early 90's standards) that just so had the benefit of doing some 3D stuff without extra chips (and it would've been better had it kept the 4MB of RAM). Still, Flare was working on addressing those issues with the Jaguar 2, which was allegedly "2-4x more powerful than the PSX" (I've read that many times before, but can't find the quote now) and was designed to handle 3D texture mapped polys, and it even had a special chip just for that purpose. With that in mind, I've often wondered how all these 3D games might improve if they were ported over to the CoJag hardware. Granted, there were two configurations of that (68EC020 for Area 51 or the R3000 for everything else), but I have to imagine that regardless the configuration, you'd get a performance boost in extra power + fewer problems on the bus + extra RAM.
  16. Well, I was thinking of Dr. Mario, but you could totally do a Haunted Hospital with House limping around and being a douchebag to patients too. Endless possibilities!
  17. For some reason, someone over at Atari has thought that it's the eyes from Haunted House. What a universe of possibilities there!* -Super Haunted House Bros. -Dr. Haunted House -Haunted Smash Bros. House -The Legend of Haunted House -Paper Haunted House RPG -Haunted House Paint -Haunted House: Ocarina of Time -House of the Haunted: Scarlet Dawn -Hauntipede -Major Haunted House Havoc -Crystal Haunted Houses -Untitled Haunted House Game (w/ Geese Eyes) -Match-3 Haunted House -Ninja Golf's Haunted House -I, Haunted House -Haunted House The Hedgehog -Blockchain Haunted House *All rip-offs of other, better concepts, excepting Blockchain! RU READY 4 DA BLOCKCHAIN TRAIN?
  18. Well, like zzip said, it depends on how you define "failure." From Atari's perspective and the market expectations of 1982, it was supposed to replace the 2600. That would mean that all of the consumers for it would have switched over from the 2600 to the 5200, and the 5200 would have become the dominant force among consoles. That didn't happen, so it was a major failure. The 5200 was also a factor in the crash. The US economy sucked in 1982, hitting a peak unemployment rate of around 10% that year, the inflation issues of the 1970s were still causing problems, and the 5200 itself wasn't a cheap console. You also had a ton of hardware options to pick from (I think you had around 8 different consoles available in '82 - the 2600, 5200, ColecoVision, Intellivision, Astrocade, Vectrex, Arcadia 2001, Odyssey 2 - probably a few others) - not just from consoles, but also from computers that behaved like consoles, plugging into a TV and offering cartridge ports. The 5200 added to the pile, then it didn't offer anything really new, other than better graphics and a controller that didn't live up to the hype. Not saying it was the straw that broke the camel's back, but it wasn't helping things much either.
  19. Well that's a big 'derp' on my part Scratch Gorf Classic from the list. I'm pretty sure I got to play the 3D mode in a demo or something way back, but that can't count. Surrounded was okay, but the game it was based on was kind of boring. Never cared for Space Zap
  20. Yeah, I forgot about Z5's speed. It would be interesting (and a little sad) to get the equipment together to analyze exactly what framerates each of these games run at. As for Skyhammer & AvP, perhaps they meant that some engine code from AvP was re-used? Legions of the Undead I've always read was using an enhanced AvP engine where it would've done something different with the ceiling, but Skyhammer would have had to use such giant modifications to do what it did that I'm not sure it would have been in the same ballpark, regardless what code was re-used.
  21. Not sure where you heard that, but they are raycasted engines in the same way that Wolf 3D did it (Wolf 3D just didn't texture the floor/ceiling). All of the characters/objects in the game are 2D sprites. Otherwise they would be running like Quake, which was true 3D, texture mapped polygons, was it not? Regardless what was going on under-the-hood, they did look really nice! Sure, I just throw out 60 since that would have been nice, but definitely impractical for the era. I might be misremembering, but T2k was one exception, it could hit 60, I thought. I-War jumps up on frame rate when you're in one of the small rooms with no enemies and just look at the shaded wall
  22. Yeah, it's probably the latter, as you make an excellent point - There's a reason why Super Mario Maker is restricted to one style of play like it is. Doing the extremely vague "Atari game" just doesn't make sense, especially in treating it like it were a fixed genre. Best I can figure, if this ever came to fruition, is something like Adventure/Haunted House Game Maker (which would just need to rip-off RPG Game Maker). Nothing else from the classic catalog really works for the "Maker" style concept - except maybe a track maker for Sprint or an arena maker for Tank/Combat?
  23. Yeah, I'm not a hardliner about it Also agree that the raycast games were really a strong point on the Jag - Most of the playtime I spent on the Jag was with those titles, particularly AvP. I'd have been happy with more of them BITD, so it's been a shame that it didn't get them (since everyone wanted to move onto Doom, then Quake, etc.). Blake Stone and Catacombs Abyss would've been really good entries for the Jag library; and there were a few unreleased titles that were going to use such an engine (Legions of the Undead, AvP 2 and I think Dungeons?) Since I'm not much of a programmer, I'm guessing that the reason we don't see many raycasted games among homebrew titles is the difficulty in creating such an engine from scratch or is it some other technical obstacle?
  24. Not technically - I figured we were talking 3D polygons (shaded or textured), while stuff like Avp, Wolf3D, Doom, Towers II is raycasting. I do enjoy the raycasted games and would put them all into the 'great' category though. IMHO, the Jag version of Wolf3D is the best rendition of the game from that era, I liked it more than the PC version.
  25. Well, isn't that interesting. Either this guy will turn the ship or continue to manage the decline. I remember several years ago when Atari went through several CEOs over the course of a short time, until the bankruptcy came along. Fred certainly held on the longest. As for the VCS, I doubt that an Atari Game Maker or whatever it is could save the little PC that couldn't at this point, but that'll be a nice piece of software for those that bought the thing - at least until they release it on Steam down the road. Have they announced any "exclusive first-party content" yet, or are we still stuck on wildest hopes 'n dreams for all of that?
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